English rule costs Gavin Henson tour spot as Wales pick Matthew Morgan

 

Gavin Henson’s hopes of reviving his international career this summer effectively disappeared when he was denied the chance to showcase his talents in front of head coach Warren Gatland and his staff in Friday’s first senior Wales trial match for 14 years.

Gatland has since named a 32-man squad to tour South Africa. It will be captained by lock Alun Wyn Jones and includes four uncapped players: backs Matthew Morgan, Jordan Williams, Steven Shingler and Gareth Davies.

Henson, who last played for Wales just before the 2011 World Cup, missed the trial because Premiership Rugby,  the umbrella organisation for England’s top 12 clubs, does not release non-English players for games that fall outside International Rugby Board match windows.

The trial match, in which the Probables crushed the Possibles 55-7, took place outside the window and was not a Test match. Asked if his unavailability had told against the 32-year-old Henson (who was originally named in the Probables squad), head coach Gatland said: “Absolutely it did. We had not seen him play a lot, and he needed to be able to play [on Friday] if he was to be considered. ”

While Henson will ruefully reflect on what might have been, the 22-year-old Morgan forced his way into Gatland’s squad on the strength of a blistering performance as a half-time substitute for the Possibles, thrilling  a capacity 20,000 Liberty Stadium crowd with some scintillating touches.

“He went on, the game opened up and he lit the place up,” Gatland added. “He has played a lot at No 10, but we feel full-back gives him a bit more time and space on the ball. You have to exploit the ability he has when the game breaks up.

“You can only pick on what you see. Selection is a matter of opinion, and I have been through that in the last year or so, where people have disagreed with me, and I know how tough it is.

“But he came on and made a big impact. As it was, he was the most dangerous player on the field during that period, so you have got to sit up and take notice. He was one of the last names added to the squad, but he deserved it.”

Several players, including Sam Warburton, Leigh Halfpenny, Scott Williams, Richard Hibbard and Justin Tipuric, will miss the tour because of injury, and Samson Lee, the Scarlets prop, could now join them. Three players exited the trial because of injury: Lee (wrist), centre Jamie Roberts (shoulder) and hooker Ken Owens (knee). Lee’s problem, however, appears the most serious.

Wales fly to South Africa on Thursday. Their opening game is against the Eastern Province Kings in Port Elizabeth on 10 June, while the Springboks await in Durban (14 June) and Nelspruit (21 June).

Wales squad: Forwards: Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), Paul James (Bath), Adam Jones (Ospreys), Rhodri Jones (Scarlets), Samson Lee (Scarlets), Aaron Jarvis (Ospreys), Ken Owens (Scarlets), Matthew Rees (Cardiff Blues), Scott Baldwin (Ospreys), Alun Wyn Jones (capt, Ospreys), Luke Charteris (Perpignan), Jake Ball (Scarlets), Ian Evans (Ospreys), Aaron Shingler (Scarlets), Josh Turnbull (Scarlets), Dan Lydiate (Racing Metro), Taulupe Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons), Dan Baker (Ospreys). Backs: Mike Phillips (Racing Metro), Gareth Davies (Scarlets), Rhodri Williams (Scarlets), Dan Biggar (Ospreys), James Hook (Perpignan), Steven Shingler (Scarlets), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets), Jamie Roberts (Racing Metro), Cory Allen (Cardiff Blues), Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), George North (Northampton Saints), Jordan Williams (Scarlets), Matthew Morgan (Ospreys), Liam Williams (Scarlets).

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Frank Turner performing at 93 Feet East
musicReview: 93 Feet East, London
News
Toronto tops the charts across a range of indexes
news

World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'

Extras
indybest
Voices
A mother and her child
voices
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee